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Must C Catch: Fuld lays out for an incredible grab

CHICAGO -- Tampa Bay's offense just isn't getting the job done.

The collective funk of the team's bats continued Saturday afternoon in a 4-2 loss to Chicago with 26,378 watching at U.S. Cellular Field.

Friday night, the Rays' offense appeared to have finally gotten on track, scoring nine runs -- including a five-spot in the final frame to earn a 9-7 win. Saturday, the offense returned to its norm, even though it got off to a good start.

Not until the ninth inning of Friday night's game did the Rays have a lead in a game this season. Saturday afternoon, the Rays scored before their opponent for the first time this season.

Dan Johnson drew a walk from White Sox starter Phillip Humber to begin the second inning. Ben Zobrist then doubled to right field, allowing Johnson to score from first to put the Rays up, 1-0.

Wade Davis started for the Rays and posted two scoreless frames before Gordon Beckham drove home Brent Morel with a sacrifice fly to center field to tie the score at 1 in the third.

Chicago took the lead in the fourth when Morel dropped a broken-bat bloop single over Davis' head with two outs and the bases loaded. The ball landed just past the pitcher's mound with the shortstop and second baseman converging on the ball as well as Davis.

"I saw the ball," Davis said. "I had time to get there, I think, just thinking about the other guys coming in and hesitated a little bit. ... I should have had it."

Added White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski: "Thank god, Brent Morel hit that ball a foot too far where [Davis] couldn't reach it."

The freak single might have seemed more like a microcosm of the Rays' luck thus far in the season, only Sam Fuld stole extra bases away from the next batter, Juan Pierre.

Pierre drilled a ball deep to the corner in right field, but Fuld sped after the drive before leaving his feet to make a diving catch to end the inning and prevent three runs from scoring.

Unfortunately for the Rays, Fuld was not able to get to Pierzynski's bases-loaded drive off Jake McGee with two outs in the seventh. Two scored on the hit to push the White Sox's lead to 4-1.

"That was close. I was thinking it was the same thing [as the earlier catch], but it was just out of my reach," Fuld said. "I really don't think if I'd have laid out I would have gotten to it. But it's crazy that it was the exact same situation, bases loaded and two outs. And almost the same spot. He just hit his hard enough to where I couldn't get it."

Rays manager Joe Maddon called Pierzynski's hit unfortunate because it gave the White Sox a three-run cushion.

"That was a tough moment to get it up to 4-1 there, being that we're not scoring a lot of runs," Maddon said. "We really have to keep it in check. And I'm not blaming the pitchers."

Davis, who recently signed a seven-year deal with the team, deserved a better fate after allowing just two runs in six innings, but he came away empty-handed, taking his second loss of the season.

"I thought Davis threw the ball well," Maddon said. "I thought he threw the ball really well. He got us out of some tough moments. Good fastball, showed some good fastball command down and away from the righties, threw some decent breaking balls. But primarily pitched with his fastball today and did a nice job."

"You can say what you want, but Wade Davis has always pitched very well against us," Pierzynski said. "He's tough. He changes speeds very well. He mixes up his pitches very well. He's a good pitcher. They signed him to a long-term deal because he's good."

Humber allowed just four hits in six innings to pick up his first win of the season.

"I was impressed with his strike-throwing ability," Maddon said. "He was getting ahead a lot. He had good command of his breaking ball also. ... Overall, his success primarily was that he pounded the zone. He got in good counts."

Felipe Lopez, who started at third base, chipped in with a solo home run in the Rays' last at-bat.

The Rays are now 1-2 on the seven-game road trip and 1-7 on the season. Saturday's game saw the team score no more than two runs for the sixth time in eight games. No matter how good the team's pitching will be this season, the offense will need to quickly get into gear if the Rays are to defend their American League East title. Comments